JEDBURGH Brown, Basil

John Robertson

Staff member
  • UNIT
Jedburgh Teams,Force 136 SOE
  • RANK
Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE)
Burma 1945
Jedburghs 16.11.1943 - 3.11.1944
Force 136 SOE 9.11.1944 - 22.1.1946
notes from His daughter Jane Marshall
I have little biographical information as in addition to him dying of a ruptured cerebral aneurysm in 1970 (and my mother dying in 1964), he was a distant and withdrawn father who had some sort of falling out with his own family at an early age, such that we never met them. Hence my difficulty in trying to get biog information on him - there's no-one to ask. It was only during my family history research that I discovered his father Samuel Brown was a detective in the Metropolitan Police and his mother Blanche Redmond, died in 1926 when he was 8. I also discovered he had a sister named Olive (dob 10.1.1922) and that he was married before to Frances Bryce in 1941 (!) and they had a daughter who died aged 18months. As regards, work, he never spoke of it and I think he did some sort of low-level army admin job at Borden in Hampshire before moving to Blackheath in London; there was an army presence at his funeral. His great love was writing, though we never saw any of it, and he spent most of his leisure time at home writing in his study. I do know that he never wore a tie and he always had back problems and these were attributed to his war experiences. Anyway, what I have is below:
dob 1.10.1918 London
death: 25.11.1970, London
Occupation at death: clerk, ministry of defence
Education: Beale School and University Institute College London.
1936 He seems to have gone to Ramhallah but this doesn't appear on his written record (I have a few small b&w photos of troop arrivals at Haifa dated Sept 22nd 1936, plus HMS Dorsetshire, Valiant & Sussex, and British HQ at the Grand Hotel Ramallah if they would be of interest to anyone)
Enlisted 14.6.1938 into Royal Artillery as a private soldier no 1426771
20.3.1939 Transferred to army pay corps
20.12.1941 married Frances Violet Bryce; daughter Jacquelyn born 8.5.1942 died 26.11.1943
4.12.1942 discharged in rank of Staff Sergeant to a commission
5.12.1942 Emergency commission as 2nd Lieutenant Royal Artillery 66th Anti-Tank regiment, Hull
16.11.1943 Accepted for SOE as a Jedburgh; application approved by Lt Col Carleton-Smith & Major Gavin Brown President of Jedburgh Board
3.11.1944 Proceeded to India
20.3.1945 Captured (as per MBE citation)
10.3.1946 Returned to England
7.11.1946 Awarded MBE, also 1939/45 Star, Burma Star, Defence Medal and War Medal
12.3.1949 married Margaret Slader; birth of daughters Penny 10.12.49, Jane 23.10.51, Nicola 26.7.53. Occupation listed as 'author' on marriage certificate
1951-1964 Lived in Greatham and Petersfield in Hampshire and worked at Borden
1.4.1966 Death of wife. Family dispersed, Basil moved to Blackheath in London, worked for MOD til death in 1974
I seem to have made a mess of trying to register, but the main reason was to offer these photos of my father Captain Basil Brown MBE (the number 18920 is in his Jedburgh record, whereas his army number was 255011). I was given access to his redacted SOE Force 136 record this week after a FOI request. He was employed as a Jedburgh for ME65 from 16.11.43 and was posted to ME71 wef 3.1.44. He left the UK for India on 3.11.44. On 9.11.44 was transferred from D/R to B/B section and from ME 71 to MOI(SP) wef 3.11.44. On 17.4.46 Part II orders advised: 18920 has been s.o.s. of Force 136 and posteed to GHQ(I)X(4) Liset wef 22.1.46.( I don't understand the abbreviations). The citation in his file states:
'Captain Brown was dropped by parachute into enemy territory south of Toungo on 20 March 1945. On 13 April 45, while leading a patrol near PYU, he was surrounded by a large number of INA. Capt Brown who was ahead of the patrol, walked towards them with the intention of inducing them to surrender. Whilst parleying with the INA, he was struck on the head from behind and tied up. For the next two days Capt Brown was vilently beated, strung up on a wall, and every endeavour was made to make him impart information as to the whereabouts of other Force 136 parties in the area, and approaching army formations. This he resolutely refused to doo and after two days succeeded in escaping. I strongly recommend him for the award of the military cross.'
Interestingly, the citation we have at home omits the recommendation for the military cross and I don't think he was given the award.
My father died in 1970, never having spoken of all this, so I would be interested in any further information, and have ordered one of the books advertised on your site.
Kind Regards, Jane Marshall
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New Member
Basil Brown

Dear Jane, you mention images of the grand hotel. I am doing research on the building from an architecture history point of view and would me much interested in seeing these images. would it be possible to see the images you mention?
regards, Sophie